Hospital death rates 'higher than average'

First published in News

HOSPITALS in Oxfordshire have a higher than average mortality rate, a report released yesterday has found.

The Dr Foster hospital guide for 2012 looks into efficiency and mortality at trusts around England.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Banbury’s Horton Hospital, has been classified as a high-efficiency, high-mortality trust.

The mortality rate is measured with the hospital standardised mortality ratio which compares the expected rate of death in hospital care with the actual rate of death.

For every 100 people who were expected to die at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, 107 people actually died. But Dr Foster, a medical research group, did not have the absolute mortality figures.

While the trust’s mortality rate was classified as being within expected boundaries, it was towards the higher end of that scale.

The trust’s efficiency was classified as being high, with excess bed days, the rate of outpatient follow-ups and the number of scheduled operations that aren’t performed being better than the national average.

Dr Ian Reckless, assistant medical director of the trust, said: “We are confident our care is safe, and we continually monitor outcomes and examine deaths to ensure we address any potential problem areas.

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“The Dr Foster methodology attempts to take account of those patients who are admitted for end-of-life care. “However this adjustment does not accurately reflect the position of the trust as we are unusual in having a hospice on our hospital site.”

He added that for this financial year deaths were so far below the expected level.

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